The name HODGKINSON is a surname strongly associated with the county of Lancashire in the northwest of England.

ASHTON-IN-MAKERFIELD is a town within the extensive ancient manor of Makerfield, in the Church of England parish of Winwick, Lancashire. It lies 5 miles due south of Wigan.

Ashton-in-Makerfield in 1849

In the LDS 1881 census index, there were 7627 individuals in Britain with the name Hodgkinson or variant, 2235 of these enumerated in Lancashire. If the exact spelling of the surname is used, then there were 1125 individuals with the name in the county. Of these, 47 were resident in Ashton-in-Makerfield. Forty gave Ashton as their place of birth, and all but 3 of those born there were resident in Ashton.

The following table shows the number of individuals bearing the name Hodgkinson in Ashton in each of the census years 1841-91:

The following table lists the types of occupations of the Hodgkinson (families) of Ashton in 1881:

These occupations reflect the main industries in Ashton:


Nearly all of the Ashton Hodgkinsons are descended from John Hodgkinson, (1757?-1816). He developed a filecutting business. John died in 1816, (of "inflammation of the lungs", a fairly typical occupational illness), and his son, also called John (born 1780) took over the business. This second John died in in 1834. At this point the business may have been located in Middle Gennell (see map above).

The business now became a partnership between three sons of John (born 1780), these being:

Towards the end of the 1840's the family acquired Field Farm, off Heath Lane behind St Thomas' Church (see map above) and this became the "Field Farm Fileworks", later the "Ashton Fileworks". The firm was known as "John Hodgkinson & Brothers". An elderly relative described going to the "little smithies" there as a child in the early 1900's. Below is the fileworks as it was in the early 1980's prior to demolition - a one storied farm building steadily reworked as a two-storied residence. Another elderly relative described Elizabeth Hodgkinson, the unmarried sister of the three partner brothers sitting outside in a rocking chair.

John (born 1817) became a prominent local figure, being the Provisional CS of the Oddfellows Society for Ashton for 40 Years. In the 1870's religious disturbances took place at Ashton, the local vicar having become too "high church" for the taste of many of the townsfolk (for more information click here). The Hodgkinsons took the lead in establishing (and actually building) a new church, initially called Christ Church, but soon changing after receipt of a funding gift to the Cave Browne Protestant Institute. This very active church is found in Heath Lane. The last Hodgkinson worshipping there died in the early 1990's.

Bryan was also involved with the Oddfellows, and his obituary describes how "the deceased had worked as a file-cutter up to and including his 76th birthday." All three bothers are buried in St Thomas' churchyard.

To read the obituaries of John and Bryan, click here

Benjamin Hodgkinson and workers (date unknown)

In 1871 John was described as employing "3 men and 2 boys" and in 1881 as "employing two sons", perhaps reflecting some business decline. The firm was taken over by Alfred Sibson Hodgkinson, son of Bryan.

At some point the firm was sold to Cromptons, who had a large factory built probably on the site of the old gennels in the centre of Ashton. The picture below of men who "worked for" Alfred Sibson Hodgkinson, may have been taken after this point.

A hand written price list for file-cutting still exists - to see it click here

To read an overview of the file-cutting process and see pictures of the tools actually

used by the Hodgkinsons, click here


The name Hodgkinson does appear in the Winwick registers in the 1600's, but only sporadically. These Hodgkinsons could be connected to the Hodgkinson families of Deane or Leigh, but it is more likely that this family may have its origins in Warrington. Of interest is the family of John & Elizabeth Hodgkinson nee Mather married 1748, in which there is a gap which could contain the birth of the 'original' John Hodgkinson:

1749 (10/5) HANNAH d. JOHN & ELIZABETH H bp. @ Newton

1750 (23/9) ALICE d. JOHN & ELIZABETH H bp. @ Newton

1752 (16/7) BETTY d. JOHN & ELIZABETH H bp. @ Newton

1755 (8/5) MARGARET d. JOHN & ELIZABETH H bp. @ Newton

1756 (30/9) MARY d. JOHN & ELIZABETH H bp. @ Newton

? 1757 JOHN

1758/9 HENRY (s. JOHN & ELIZABETH H buried Warrington 6/3/1764, aged 6)

1760/1 PEGGY (d. JOHN & ELIZABETH H buried Warrington 29/4/1764, aged 4)

1762 (24/1) MARTHA d JOHN & ELIZABETH H @ Warrington

1770 (28/1) THOMAS s. JOHN & ELIZABETH H @ Great Sankey

John Hodgkinson was perhaps the son of Henry (born 1723) and Alice , and  was a husbandman of Rixton (Warrington) on 10 April 1748 when he took out a licence (supported by John Hall of Newton) to marry Elizabeth Mather of Billinge at Wigan or at Burtonwood chapel (Warrington parish). The marriage took place at Wigan later that day. John and Elizabeth Hodgkinson seem to have lived for at least the first eight years of their marriage at Newton-in-Makerfield (a chapelry of Winwick), where their first five children (all daughters) were baptised. These were Hannah (21 May 1749, born 10 May); Alice (23 September 1750, born 15 September); Betty (16 July 1752, born 2 July); Margaret (8 May 1755, born 21 April); Mary (30 September 1756, born 18 September). After Mary’s baptism in 1756 we lose track of the family’s movements for eight years and it may be that John Hodgkinson was working as a travelling weaver.] A son Henry was born c. 1758. In April 1760 ‘Peggy, daughter of John Hodgkinson’ was baptised at St John’s, Lancaster. Among other possible children of John and Betty/Elizabeth are some baptised at Preston (John, 1763; Betty, 1766; Mary (1767 and 1774); Margaret (1774)]. John and Elizabeth Hodgkinson seem to have been living at Warrington from at least 24 January 1762, when Martha (1762–1827), daughter of John Hodgkinson, weaver and Elizabeth his wife was baptised there. Henry, son of John Hodgkinson, weaver and Elizabeth his wife was buried at Warrington on 6 March 1764, aged six. Peggy, daughter of John Hodgkinson, weaver and Elizabeth his wife was buried at Warrington on 29 April 1764, aged four. Of John and Elizabeth’s nine children four or more, survived to adulthood: these were their son Thomas, their unmarried daughter Martha, their daughter Mary Lowe and another daughter, the mother of Ellen Bailey. The family then began a strong connection with Great Sankey ( immediately adjacent to Warrington). John and Elizabeth’s only surviving son Thomas was baptised at Great Sankey on 28 January 1770 and the connection was to last until the burial of Thomas’ only son Thomas Mather Hodgkinson, 108 years later. John Hodgkinson was buried at Sankey on 7 December 1789 and Betty Hodgkinson (probably John’s widow Elizabeth) on 20 March 1791.


Click here to begin to access the family trees, starting with John & Betty Hodgkinson. A blue underlined link associated with a surname in capital letters will take you to another tree from that individual's family. The link <parents> will take you back to the previous tree.

Click here to go to a list of surnames associated by marriage with the Hodgkinsons in the trees.

Click here to go to an index of the Hodgkinsons listed in the trees.

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File manufacturing


Coal mining


Cotton industry


Hinge manufacturing


Retail trade


Census year